Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President and CEO Craig Fuller and senior members of the association’s government affairs staff traveled to Ada, Okla., on July 7, for a demonstration of one of the possible solutions in the search for an unleaded aviation gasoline. Joining them at General Aviation Modifications, Inc. (GAMI) was Cessna Aircraft Co. President and CEO Jack Pelton.
“The dilemma of how to remove lead from avgas without affecting safety of flight has vexed our industry for years,” said Fuller. “So it is important that AOPA, as part of a general aviation avgas coalition, look at all potential solutions. That’s why we’re at GAMI again – to get an update on how their work on a fuel alternative is progressing.”
This was AOPA’s second meeting with GAMI to see their work on a 100LL alternative, called G100UL. Fuller has also met with and received an extensive briefing from Swift Fuels, another company that is working on a 100LL replacement.
AOPA and the other members of the coalition – the American Petroleum Institute (API), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA) – are working with the Environmental Protection Agency and the FAA to develop and implement a comprehensive process for evaluating all aspects of potential solutions, from refining to actual performance in aircraft engines, according to AOPA officials.
GAMI provided an interesting demonstration of how the company is utilizing its engine test cell capability to develop fuel blends with the goal of developing a future unleaded fuel that meets the needs of high performance aircraft, AOPA officials noted. Additionally, GAMI is using its fuel in a turbocharged Cirrus aircraft, is pursuing an STC, and this week began the process of developing a fuel standard through ASTM International.
“The general aviation avgas coalition looks forward to seeing data from GAMI, Swift, and any others who may have a potential solution,” said Rob Hackman, AOPA’s vice president of regulatory affairs. “With that data, we can examine the production, distribution, performance, emissions and economic impacts associated with any given proposed alternative.”
In the coming weeks and months, AOPA plans to continue to visit many of the key players in the avgas issue including suppliers and aircraft and engine manufacturers, as well companies such as GAMI and Swift that are developing potential solutions.